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Know the signs of stroke and reduce your risk

National Stroke Week: 3-9 September 2018

With one person suffering a stroke every nine minutes across Australia*, Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) is encouraging everyone to know the common signs of stroke and the best ways to prevent it.

CCLHD Neurologist/Stroke Staff Specialist Dr Bill O’Brien said National Stroke Week (3-9 September) was an opportunity to let the local community know that healthy lifestyle habits can help manage the risk of stroke.

“It’s estimated that more than 80 per cent of strokes can be prevented simply by living a healthy lifestyle,” he said.

If you do suffer a stroke, Dr O’Brien said the longer it remains untreated, the more you risk developing stroke-related brain damage.

“Seeking emergency medical treatment as soon as possible after the first signs or symptoms improves your chance of survival and rehabilitation.”

Mannering Park resident Brian Edwards quickly recognised he was having a stroke when he lost the use of his right arm and leg while watching television at home one night around 12 months ago.

“All of a sudden the TV screen went hazy and I could hardly move my right side,” he said.

“I rang the ambulance as I was pretty certain I was having a stroke and not long later I couldn’t move at all.

“They took me to the stroke ward at Gosford Hospital and I was there for four weeks then spent another nine weeks in rehabilitation at Wyong Hospital.”

With ongoing therapy, Brian regained the ability to get to his feet but was still unable to walk.

“I was at the point where they told me if I didn’t start walking soon I would never be able to walk again,” he said.

Within a week of hearing this, Brian took his first steps in more than three months.

“It was an incredible feeling and I can’t thank the physiotherapists and occupational therapists enough for what they did for me,” he said.

“They told me I should thank myself as I did a lot of the hard work.

“I was very determined as I didn’t want to spend my life not being able to do anything.”

Brian, now aged 75, says while he still isn’t 100 per cent, he continues to do his daily exercises and keeps improving.

He hopes his story will help encourage others to act fast if you suspect a stroke and recognise the importance of ongoing rehabilitation to achieve a successful recovery.

“I’m doing really well now and am thankful to be able to walk but you have to be willing to put in the hard yards,” Brian said.

Reducing your risk of stroke:
• Eat well.
• Stay active.
• Be smoke free.
• Moderate alcohol intake.

Recognise the signs of stroke: (FAST test)
• Face Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
• Arms Can they lift both arms?
• Speech Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
• Time Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.

Media enquiries:
For interviews and photograph opportunities contact:
Lauren Nicholls, CCLHD Senior Communications Officer
4320 3221 or 0414 193 308

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